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27 Aug 2006

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU)

China: Chain restaurants in Hong Kong pay employees below living wage

[Original article in Chinese. Title translation, and following summary of the article's key points, provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.] A survey done by the Catering and Hotels Industries Employees General Union, an affiliate to HKCTU, revealed that the 7 chain restaurants surveyed are paying an average of US$2.18 (HK$17) hourly wage. KFC, among the 7 chains surveyed, is at the bottom of the pay scale with a US$2 hourly wage, followed by Fairwood, McDonald's, Café de Coral, Maxims [Hong Kong distributor for Starbucks], with Pizza Hut's and Yoshinoya's hourly wage both at US$2.44. The survey also shows that employers often shirk their responsibility to employee benefits and protection by deliberate work scheduling. For instance, some part-time KFC workers were asked to stop working for a week after every 3 consecutive weeks' of work so as to evade provision of annual leave, statutory holidays, maternity leave and severance payment which all require, by labour law, working in the company for at least 4 consecutive weeks. 4 of the employers would have provided a wage insufficient for living in Hong Kong, based on a 26-day work month. Yet, due to the measures to evade the provision of employee benefits, employees often have much less than 26 days of work per month, thus would barely be able to earn a living wage. A protest was launched in front of KFC in Causeway Bay, the busiest district in Hong Kong.